Letter to the Editor – John Milnes on Medical Care in Ontario – January 13, 2011

Perhaps the moment is right to take a good, honest look at the Ontario medical scene putting aside all of our prejudices, political bias and personally slanted viewpoints.  From this perspective we will clearly see how. and why, Ontario has the finest health service in Canada and is considered to be the fourth best in the world.  In recent years I have had the misfortune to be hospitalized in different countries of North America and, through comparison, I can attest to the quality of the Ontario health service, despite not having the mortality and morbidity stats to support my case.

Some columnists write of doom and gloom and many letters to the editor contain only the sad stories of those who have suffered at the hands of incompetent management systems.   Surely that can be the only way in which we can describe some medical services when I compare them to the efficiency generated by the Winchester District Memorial Hospital.  Very recently I was forced, on a Friday evening, into the emergency department at that hospital and I can vouch for the excellent service surrounding this superb new facility.  Despite the time of day the laboratories were functioning for blood work, there was a technician on hand for radiography and superbly pleasant staff took care of my needs without having to wait an uncomfortablely long time.  Impressive is the only way in which to describe how my medical needs were attended to.  Why does this hospital manage to put up such a high performance when others appear to be constantly struggling?  In my humble opinion it is all a matter of administration.

I can hear the political doom-sayers telling us it is the politicians to blame.  But wait a moment.  Are the politicians the medical practitioners or the hospital management boards?  If there is diagnostic equipment in the hospital but it is not being used because there is no technician on duty then it can be said the administration has failed, not the politicians.  We can often see long lines at the triage nurse stations in hospital emergency departments and one can only wonder why this has to be.  Again it comes back to management practices at the local level.  Imagine if every ‘walk-in’ clinic or regional health clinic were to operate for twelve hours each day and on week-ends.  Could these not constitute the first phase of medical emergency and greatly decrease the demand on the regional hospitals?  Many people only need to see a doctor and that doctor, at an available clinic, will often serve the need.

In Ontario we have many superb nurses, wonderful doctors and excellent equipment technicians but these medical practitioners are sadly being grossly mismanaged.  Take the case of one local regional health clinic that closed down from 24th December, 2010 until 3rd January, 2011, because some of the staff were on holiday.  PEOPLE DO NOT STOP BEING SICK BECAUSE IT IS THE CHRISTMAS SEASON.  In a commercial situation, a superstore for example, they would not shut down but would close ranks through good administrative practices.  Our medical facilities should be managed with similiar efficiency.

Medical administrators from Morrisburg to Alexandria should rapidly sharpen their pencils for behind those shelves of cans lining the supermarket aisles lurk yet other skilled administrators.  Such administrators, waiting to put into practice the management skills learned in the supermarket stores, are eager to demonstrate that goods, services and staffing needs are convertible from one regime to another.  It is likely that true innovative, entrepreneural spirit will, ultimately, demonstrate there is a capacity for a walk-in element to the regional health clinic.

So all you political partisan warriors, you may put away your spears of war for they will only fall upon my shield of truth; all you nine-to-five doctors need not cry for your tears will fall on dry ground. The good doctors need not take up cudgels for we know who you are and how good you are.  I know I have a good doctor for I returned to live in this area simply because of his superb medical ministrations.

John E. Milnes – South Stormont Ontario

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of the Cornwall Free News, their staff, or sponsors.)

Scott BeckIsland Ink Jet


  1. I have no trouble putting political misgivings aside for a response.
    I have little trouble with the Nurses and Doctors who we come in contact with, however the whole system has become crazy.

    Each of us in our taxes send money to Toronto. From that someone sends a share to the health ministry. Someone then sends money to the 14 health networks in Ontario. Someone from there sends money to each hospital where it is sent around to cover bills from each department.

    Administration costs are taking away alot of money from helping the end user as you can see above.

    A quick look at some annual reports for local hospitals available on the web can open our eyes more.
    Income from parking alone at the Ottawa Hospital lists just over 10 million dollars and the Montfort Hospital at just over 2 million. Users of a service (sure some are visitors) paying to get into seeing a Doctor that are taxes are already paying for drives me crazy. Cornwall, Kemptville and other hospital parking rates are better but it is just more tax.

    Health and immigration are the largest users of our dollars, demand better!

  2. Eric. you must be so Conservative you are blind to the facts. No matter how it is done the reality is OHIP is the best health service in Canada and is fourth in the world. That impresses me even though I totally agree with you about the parking costs. A question. Would the Conservatives remove those parking fees?

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